Kate Winslet Shines As A Pie-Baking Tortured Soul In "Labor Day"
Winslet has quickly emerged as the film's star performer in reviews.
The Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin starrer Labor Day made the rounds at festivals last year and now that it’s finally making it to the cinema, critics have a lot to say – unfortunately, the reviews aren’t all glowing. The film centers on a pregnant divorced mother (it gets complicated from the beginning) who gets taken hostage (more or less) by an escaped criminal (Josh Brolin). As they live and bake pies together for three whole days, both Adele (Winslet) and her 13-year-old son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) gradually develop different kinds of affection for Frank, at one point even making plans to flee to Canada.
Winslet has emerged as the obvious star in Labor Day.
Most critics find the movie’s unlikely romance highly unbelievable, like the NY Times’ Stephen Holden describes it as “designed for the crowd that devours Nicholas Sparks’s romantic daydreams. If it’s a hit, it could generate an uptick in prison correspondence from lonely women to roughnecks behind bars.”
Even so, for Winslet it was a welcome change, precisely because of its shifted power balance – the same thing that irks many critics.
"I have never really played a character that has considerably more vulnerability than strength," she said in an interview for the Telegraph earlier in January. "She felt very alien to me, every day. Usually, I can find something in a character to relate to – Hannah Schmidt in The Reader, for example. I didn’t like her and she was nothing like me but she had a certain strength that I could totally latch on to.”
As it turns out, Winslet’s vulnerability and dedication to the role is the one thing that critics seem to like the most about Labor Day. TIME’s Richard Corliss sums it up thusly: “[Winslet] imparts full weight to Adele, allowing Frank’s appeal to creep slowly over her, like a strange male hand on a female thigh during an overnight crosscountry flight.”